Massaman Curry

 There are few things more comforting than a hot bowl of curry – Thai, Indian, green, red, or massaman – I’ll never turn down an oportunity to try a new vegan curry recipe. Luckily, most supermarkets these days stock up on an amazing selection of curry pastes and chutneys which makes it easy to recreate what you order at most restaurants. This recipe for Massaman Curry comes from www.veganricha.com and has a smooth, creamy coconut milk base with an earthy peanut and ginger flavor. The tamarind concentrate add an unexpected hint of lip-smacking sweet and sour which blends well with the subtle heat from the curry paste. I’m kind of obsessed with coriander chutney these days so of course added a heaping spoon on top when serving.

MASSAMAN CURRY
2 tsp coconut oil 
1 diced white onion
2 tsp minced ginger
3 cloves of garlic minced
1 small head cauliflower, florets chopped small
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup chopped green beans
1 potato, diced
2 Tbsp red curry paste (I used a mild cumin coriander red curry paste)
2 Tbs garam masala 
3 Tbsp peanut butter 
1/2 tsp salt, divided
1/2 tsp tamarind concentrate
1 can coconut milk, 2 for more of a soup base
3/4 cup water
Basil
Whole, raw cashews
In a large sauce pot, add oil and heat at medium heat. Add onion and cook for 4 minutes. Add ginger, garlic, bell pepper, cauliflower, potatoes green beans, salt and mix. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Mix in the carrots, curry paste, garam masala and cook for 2 more minutes. Add peanut butter, salt, tamarind, coconut milk and water and mix well. Cover and cook on medium heat for 15 -20 minutes until the curry thickens a bit and the veggies are tender. Garnish with slivered basil and whole cashews. Serve hot over rice.   

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Indian Baked Veggie Squares



Anybody that knows how to make great Indian food is a hero of mine. I recently had the pleasure of meeting renowned cookbook author and journalist Anupy Singla at a book signing, and I’m ashamed at what I thought was “traditional” Indian food. I vow to never think that naan or curry powder are considered part of the Indian home cook’s repertoire again! I also vow to share with the world that there are a plethora of traditional recipes that can be made without cream or meat that will satisfy the mind, body and soul. I admit the recipes featured in her cookbook Vegan Indian Cooking require some advance planning – soaking fresh beans overnight, using a slow cooker or food processor, or prepping your spice blends. But these recipes pack a punch, are unbelievably cheap, and can be made in batches so they are perfect to keep in the fridge all week!

This week’s dish for Baked Veggie Squares is a baked vegan version of the traditional fried snack Tukri Pakora. It features an unconventional combination of ingredients and may seem daunting at first, but I am so thrilled with the outcome it has already been established as a remake in our house. I made my version without the Thai chiles, but if you opt to try the original spicy version you will need to remove the stems and simply add them to your vegetable mix in the food processor.

BAKED VEGGIE SQUARES

2 cups white cabbage, grated (1/2 small head)
1 cup zucchini, grated
1/2 potato, peeled and grated
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
1-inch piece ginger root, diced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, minced
3 cups chickpea flour
12-ounce package silken tofu
1 Tablespoon coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon turmeric powder 
1 teaspoon red chili powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil a 10-inch square baking pan. Using the grater attachment on your food processor, grate all your vegetable ingredients. In a deep bowl, combine the cabbage, cauliflower, zucchini, potato, onion, ginger, and cilantro. Add the flour and mix slowly until well combined using your hands. Using the large blade on your food processor, purée the silken tofu. Then add the tofu, salt, turmeric, red chili powder, baking powder, and oil to the vegetable mixture. Mix well. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan and bake for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle. Cool for 10 minutes and cut into squares. Serve with your favorite chutney.





Lentil Curry Bowl

IMG_3378There is no country in the world as strongly associated with vegetarianism as India. With approximately 500 million Indian vegetarians, there are an abundant number of hearty bean and vegetable dishes packed with soulful spices. I especially love browsing the array of sauces and chutneys at the supermarket that each lend their own subtle heat. This easily reproduced Lentil Curry Bowl is sweet and smokey, and the tangy coriander chutney adds a salty balance that will keep fresh in the fridge all week!

LENTIL CURRY BOWL
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 Tablespoons red Thai curry paste
1 teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup brown lentils, rinsed
12 ounces tomato puree
1 potato, roughly chopped
1 red pepper, roughly chopped
3 cups vegetable broth
Pinch of salt
Cilantro for topping
Swad brand coriander chutney

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 3-5 minutes. Add the curry paste and spices and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add the lentils, tomato purée, potato, red pepper, and broth. Simmer until lots of the liquid has evaporated – continue adding ½ cup of water as needed as the lentils will just keep soaking it up. Repeat this process for about 30-45 minutes until the lentils are soft. Serve in bowl topped with fresh cilantro and heaping tablespoon of coriander chutney.

Tofu Vindaloo

Tofu Vindaloo

I’m not an advocate for complicated processes in the kitchen — and this requires a few steps more than what’s normal for me — but the hard work really pays off in this tantalizing Indian recipe of complex flavors and spices that truly makes your heart soar. It it based on a recipe from one of my favorite blogs Oh My Veggies, and requires a hand blender or food processor and a spice grinder or mortar and pestle if you are using whole seeds or cloves. But don’t be intimidated. Spice cooking is not like baking. You can add a little more turmeric here and a little less garlic there, you can skip an element all together, and your curry base will still take on a life of its own. This vindaloo concept might be life changing for you, as it was for me. I mean, who doesn’t want a Indian dish in their repertoire? All I’m saying is, buy some naan and make this.

VINDALOO PASTE
1 small onion, quartered
3 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

TOFU VINDALOO
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 (15-ounce) package extra firm tofu cut into 1-inch cubes
1 1/4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 medium head cauliflower, chopped into florets
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 cups fresh green beans, cut into 2-inch pieces
Rice or naan, for serving

Place all of the vindaloo paste ingredients in a food processor or hand blender base and puree until it reaches a paste consistency, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl or pitcher as needed. Set aside. In a separate bowl, combine the vegetable broth, tomato paste, vinegar and sugar. Set aside. Add the oil to a large saucepan over medium-high heat, cook tofu cubes for 10 minutes, flipping every 2 minutes or so, until it’s lightly browned. Push the tofu out to the sides of the of the saucepan, making a space in the center. Add the vindaloo paste to the center and heat for 1 minute, until fragrant. Add the broth mixture and gently combine, then bring to a simmer and add the cauliflower, pepper and green beans. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 12-15 minutes or until veggies are tender, stirring occasionally. Add up to 1/2 cup of water during cooking if sauce becomes too thick.

Easiest Chana Masala

chana masalaIn the Western World, turmeric root is often used as an agent to color curry powders, mustards, butters, and cheeses. But in the Eastern World, turmeric root is widely used as a medicinal ingredient used to treat inflammatory and irritated skin conditions, and to encourage healthy digestion and liver function. Surprisingly, just 1 tablespoon of turmeric contains 15% of your daily iron needs and even contains a moderate amount of vitamin B6 so it’s health benefits are verifiable. Native to Southeast Asia, turmeric has been considered highly auspicious and holy in Hindu and Tamil spiritualism for millennia so I find it especially intriguing as a spice.

My Easiest Chana Masala recipe is so soul satisfying even my toddler eats it (well, he picks out the cauliflower parts and then devours the chickpeas). The warm, bitter flavor of the turmeric and the rich, earthy curry powder are the two shining ingredients in this embarrassingly simple dish that piques everyone’s interest when I heat it up in the office microwave. By now you should know that I like to get my bang for the buck, and this dish does not disappoint coming in at around $10.

EASIEST CHANA MASALA
32 oz can of diced tomatoes
32 oz can of chickpeas, drained
1 head of cauliflower, stems removed and florets set aside
2 medium onions, diced
1 Tablespoon turmeric powder
2 Tablespoons curry powder
3 garlic cloves, diced
1 bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped
Olive oil

Add a generous amount of olive oil to a large saute pan. Saute the garlic and onions on medium heat until they are browning. Then add the cauliflower florets and cook for another 4-5 minutes, constantly turning. Add turmeric and curry powder and mix until well combined with the cauliflower mixture. Add the diced tomatoes and chickpeas, cover the saute and let simmer for 15 minutes or until the cauliflower is just soft enough to stab with a fork but still has as bit of a crunch. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve immediately. The great thing about this dish is you can easily improvise and add your favorite vegetables to change up the recipe.

Ev
Chard Soup